Is it a violation of an inmate’s rights if they never received a form to apply for a public defender?

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Is it a violation of an inmate’s rights if they never received a form to apply for a public defender?

My brother was arrested on charges for terroristic threats to his ex-wife. He is now in prison. I spoke with his pre-trial director to find out that there was never an application for a public defender given to him. Now he has to wait until his hearing in March because apparently his paperwork was lost. He doesn’t have a criminal record and he and his ex-wife made an agreement outside of court. Township police are forcing her not to drop her criminal compliant since they have already filed charges. Is there something we can do about this?

Asked on January 15, 2011 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

What you may have to do is to hire a private attorney for your brother.  From the way that you have written this question it certainly does appear that his Sixth Amendment right to have an attorney appointed on his behalf have been violated and it appears that your ex sister in law is in some way being coerced in to maintaining the criminal complaint.  Perhaps she should speak with an attorney as well here on her options in this matter.  Other than hiring a private attorney you can possibly go and seek help directly from legal aid and see if they can do anything at this stage of the game.  Good luck to you.


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